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INVARIANT TWINS
ture, travel, painting, and architecture, and with his deep
understanding of natural beauty, he had plenty to keep him
from degenerating into the 'mere mathematician9 of conven-
tional literature - written for the most part by people who
may indeed have known some pedantic college professor of
mathematics, but who never in their lives saw a real mathe-
matician in the flesh.
In 1846, when he was twenty-five, Cayley left Cambridge.
No position as a mathematician was open to him unless possibly
he could square his conscience to the formality of 'holy orders'.
As a mathematician Cayley felt no doubt that it would be
easier to square the circle. Anyhow, he left. The law, which with
the India Civil Service has absorbed much of England's most
promising intellectual capital at one time or another, now
attracted Cayley. It is somewhat astonishing to see how many
of England's leading barristers and judges in the nineteenth
century were high wranglers hi the Cambridge tripos, but it
does not follow, as some have claimed, that a mathematical
training is a good preparation for the law. What seems less
doubtful is that it may be a social imbecility to put a young
man of Cayley's demonstrated mathematical genius to drawing
up wills, transfers, and leases.
Following the usual custom of those looking toward an
Jjtoglish legal career of the more gentlemanly grade (that is,
above the trade of solicitor), Cayley entered Lincoln's Inn to
prepare himself for the Bar. After three years as a pupil of a
Mr Christie, Cayley was called to the Bar in 1849. He was then
twenty-eight. On being admitted to the Bar, Cayley made a
wise resolve not to let the law run off with his brains. Deter-
mined not to rot, he rejected more business than he accepted.
For fourteen mortal years he stuck it, making an ample living
and deliberately turning away the opportunity to smother
himself in money and the somewhat blathery sort of renown
that comes to prominent barristers, in order that he might earn
enough, but no more than enouglvto enable him to get on with
Ms work.
His patience under the deadening routine of'ffitegry^legal
business was exemplary, almost saintly, and his reputation in
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